The Erasmus+ KA201 project PEARL “Emotional Empathic Proximal Learning-Educational Environment” is a project that aims to develop and validate an educational model, innovative and replicable at an international level, aimed at the very first childhood, 1 – 6 years, which favors the growth of children through an empathic and emotional proximal learning educational environment based on group activities. The project has a completely experimental character and aims to create and validate a new inclusive educational model based on concrete and solid neuro-psycho-pedagogical theoretical foundations, integrating academic research (theories of Vygotskij, Piaget, Montessori, metacognitive pedagogy, proximal learning, co -structural, environmental and relational constructivism) with modern educational strategies including: peer education, cooperative learning, constructivism and with the use of information and robotics technologies (in particular for the 3-6 years age group). Robotics is used as a tool for learning the first basics of coding and programming, and especially for the development of relational and emotional skills, thanks to its use in small group activities. For the age group from 1 to 3 years, the possibility of using simpler robots dedicated to these children will be evaluated. For this age group, however, the creation of the empathic and emotional proximal educational environment will take place mainly through activities related to nature and respect for the environment, such as developing the internalization of the sense of eco-systemic belonging with the world. The PEARL model places the group, peer relations, and the development of empathetic emotions at the center of its action for the creation of a proximal learning space that favors a correct approach to robotics technologies as educational and learning tools. In the relationship with peers, the child can take on different roles and is called to cooperate in the small group and to agree by learning to take the other’s point of view (Piaget 1932), developing cooperation and sharing skills. The group relationship does not only lead to empathic emotional development but also to cognitive one: the solution of problems, reached in a shared way, is internalized as the content of thought (“genetic law of cultural development” Vygotskij 1934). The methodologies developed by the project will pay particular attention to the inclusion of all children beyond their talents, their potential, personal difficulties, or disabilities.
The PEARL project aims to develop, test and validate an innovative and high-quality educational model for the development of an educational environment of emotional and empathetic proximal learning in the age range from 1 to 6 years that can be replicated at European level. The model to be developed will lay solid scientific and theoretical foundations in the neurological development of the child and in pedagogy through educational strategies for the development of prosocial skills with the use of robotics and new technologies
Other objectives of the project:
– Creation of an international network of specialists and organizations in close collaboration with academic world, teacher training institutions and educational institutions for the promotion of innovative and quality education in early childhood
– The creation of new curricula for teachers for the development of the skills necessary to adopt an experimental educational model in early childhood
– A new orientation to early childhood education through the creation of a white paper on educational approaches and models tested in the 1-6 years age group, intended for public bodies and decision-makers at national and European level.